Google Offers (Partial) Encrypted Search

Google announced last week that it was starting to do full encryption for some search services. This shouldn’t be surprising to those folks who use GMail, as Google started doing full encryption for that quite a while ago.

You can now go to https://www.google.com/ and have full SSL encryption when you’re doing regular Web search. Emphasis on regular Web search; Google notes “when you search using SSL, you won’t see links to offerings like Image Search and Maps that, for the most part, don’t support SSL at this time.” The search will also be a little bit slower, as the encryption has to be processed (I doubt you’ll even notice.)

If you use a lot of open WiFi connections or public hotspots, you’ll appreciate the encryption of the Web search. But note that this is more about data security while you’re out among strangers and less about your privacy in relation to Google. Google still does retain search data and does use cookies (you can get Google’s general privacy policy here.) If you are more worried about your privacy as in regards to Google, you might want to use Startpage, which is extremely privacy-focused and doesn’t even record user IP addresses anymore (see privacy details here.)

Matt Cutts has a few more thoughts that you can read on his blog.

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